What used to be one of my biggest fears is the discovery that I’m organically not what I hope I am. When I’d think of myself, I’d wonder if who I think I am is really antithetical to who I was created to be; that there’s a possibility I’m spending all my energy doing the wrong things. One day it came to me that my fear was actually rooted in what I thought people thought of me. What would my family and friends think if I ever expressed what I was really felt or was thinking? What would happen to my support system if I was ever authentically “Tuan?” In fact, what did being authentic mean for me at any point in time?
Being worried about the thoughts and opinions of others was the root of my spiritual paralysis. To break the stagnation, I had to do some hard work. I had to find what relationships, food, sex and alcohol couldn’t give me… knowledge of me. I needed to confront the pain relationships, food, sex and alcohol pacified. I had to start thinking about myself. I had to challenge and explore what I thought of me. After thirteen years in ministry, I had to break open my spirit and calculate what I had, who I was, where I was going, and what all that meant. It all started with my thoughts of me.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” opened my eyes to a great deal of things. It taught me that it really doesn’t matter what other people think of me. The important thing is what I think of myself. And whatever I thought of myself, IS who I am. So when I thought of myself as unloveable, unattractive or not good enough, I wasn’t. That thought pattern lead to me being depressed and self-destructive. Not only was I self-destructive, I was subconsciously destroying everything and everyone around me. I couldn’t see good in me, so I couldn’t see it in others. I was hypercritical, judgmental, catty and downright mean.
Eventually I had to ask myself, “Tuan, what are you thinking?” The only thing I thought was good about me was based on the opinions and thoughts of others, so in reality I wasn’t thinking.
To get a good view of who I am, I had to break down every wall that I thought was protecting me. I had to become open. I had to crack open all the things I had bottled up and look at them; deal with each and every issue, positive or negative. Only when I became open was I able to see my own potential. While I had a closed mind and spirit, I wasn’t able to get a true calculation of all the things that make me who I am; my talents, my insights, my background, my dreams, and so much more. I couldn’t even see the infinite possibilities. Confronting all my crazy helped me see not just what I have, but helped me realize what I want. I now understand what I want isn’t impossible. What I want for my life is what I deserve.
So, what are you thinking? What are WE thinking? Are we really seeing the big picture about who we are individually and collectively? Are we passionate enough, courageous enough to brea open that which keeps us isolated, take inventory and open ourselves up to what is possible? At this very moment, you are… we are the precise expression of what we think.
Tuan N’Gai is an activist and co-founder of Operation: REBIRTH. He is the author and publisher of “Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma” and “Little Brown Boy’s Blues.” He is also a contributor to the New York Times Best Seller “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.” Tuan currently lives in Chicago, Illinois
“He said he wants me to be his wife, his whore, and the mother of his children. Then he proposed to me.” That is something a young lady said on her Facebook page. She was happy. Celebrating her new engagement. But, like clockwork, a firestorm of negative comments rang out from empowered black women. She was accused of having low self-esteem. She was berated for letting a man talk to her like that. How DARE she revel in male misogyny and set the black female struggle back 50 years! Why did she think it was a compliment? Why did so many people congratulate her like she had accomplished something great? I mean, since when did “whore” become a compliment or an aspiration? Right?
Though I understand the people who disagreed with his choice of words, I have to say I disagree with it. This is a relationship between a man and HIS woman; a woman and HER man. Who the HELL are outsiders to tell them what is and is not appropriate in their relationship? Who died and made anyone else’s opinion relevant to their thing? If this young lady wasn’t offended, because the word isn’t a negative one within the bonds of her engagement, I think everyone else should just get somewhere and SADDOWN!
I honestly think he was telling her, “Baby, all I need, I’ve found in you. You are just ALL the woman I need. For a home-cooked meal and clean house, I can come home to you. For all the low-down, gutter-butt, freak nasty pornographic fantasies I want fulfilled in the bedroom that I can’t share with anyone else, I know you got me. There is no other woman I want to bear my seed. You are EVERY woman to me!”
I think the young man exercised maturity and had the balls to freely say what he loves about her in the most vulnerable and uncensored way. What’s wrong with that? If more people had the type of relationship where they were safe and free to say exactly what they felt, HOW they felt it without the threat or fear of judgement, we just may have a better society. The world needs this type of honesty. Furthermore, what’s wrong with having a wife (or partner) who is so sexually uninhibited they satisfy every little sexual fetish you have? What’s wrong with that?
The way I see it, the women who were going in on this young lady were jealous. They weren’t empowered women at all. They were bitter, insecure, hurt and angry women who probably are in need of a 15-minute toe curling, body-rocking orgasm their damn selves! When you violently berate others because they don’t agree with your point of view, or don’t know the whole story, that’s not empowerment boo boo, you really need to get off your high horse and live a little. Maybe if you weren’t so uptight, and were free enough to be someone’s personal whore, you might be getting wifed up to.
“All the good black men are either dead, married, gay, in jail or waiting to be born,” is something I heard a young lady say in a bible study once. We were discussing the possibility of some of us in the class never getting married. Before making this statement, she told the pastor he needed to come up with some programs so some of the women in the class could have the hope of getting married. She then went on to give a dramatic speech called “Who Is Left to Love the Black Woman?”
I was very offended. And the whole time she was giving her lil’ speech, I was lookin’ at Mz. Lady like she’d bumped her head. After her speech, the pastor asked if any of the men in the class would like to respond. So, you KNOW I raised my hand right? And the pastor just shook his head, because he KNEW what was coming.
I stood up in front of the class, cleared my throat, and said, “I don’t think the problem here is ‘who’s left to love the black woman, but rather who is qualified!” I also told Mz. Lady that she owed every man in the class an apology because ALL OF US in the class thought of ourselves as good men.
These days, what IS a good man? Everyone has their own idea of what makes a man “good,” so it’s difficult to set a concrete definition. When asked that question, most of the single men I know say they consider themselves good men.
So, if so many people (straight women and gay men) are looking for ‘good men’, why are so many presumed good men single? Maybe the people who say they are looking for a good man, aren’t really looking for a good man at all. Most are seeking out “good-looking men” and are disappointed when they find that those who they think are good-looking often lack the characteristics they say they want in a man. The truth is, most will totally overlook a man of character if he doesn’t personify what society says is beautiful or successful. Even if the man is only trying to be a friend, he still faces rejection based on his looks.
My late Big Mama used to say, “baby, you don’t throw away a diamond because it’s given to you in a paper bag, and not a velvet box….a diamond is still a diamond no matter what it may be wrapped in.” Big Mama knew that a good man couldn’t be measured or judged by what he has or how he looks. A good man can only be judged by his character. Now I’m not naïve to the fact that what we see gets our attention. But it seems that what we see is the most important thing. We value things that are temporal. Good looks fade or can be destroyed. Money and material things are fleeting and can be taken away. But a strong and noble character is something that is invaluable and will stand the test of time.
So to all those women and men, who say they’re looking for a good man, remember that a good man (a diamond) is still a good man (a diamond) regardless of how he may be wrapped. Think about it, that man of character that you’ve overlooked because you’re “just not attracted to him” may be the friend or partner you’ve been looking for all along. Learn how to see people with more than just your eyes. Maybe the problem is not a shortage of eligible candidates, but your inability to recognize a good man when you see him.
Tuan N’Gai is Co-Founder of the Operation: REBIRTH Movement. He’s the author of “Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma,” “Little Brown Boy’s Blues,” and a contributor to the New York Times Best Seller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.” He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Where is the outrage over the racist “tar baby” remark made by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)? There has been no outcry whatsoever from “black leaders”. I suppose I should count their silence as their consent. It’s okay for someone in his position to use racial slurs in public, on the airwaves as long as they apologize and say they didn’t “intend” to be offensive. What the hell did he intend by using a term like “tar-baby”? How could something like that not be construed as racist?
When contacting the Congressional Black Caucus on the issue of their white colleague using racial slurs in the media when talking about associated with our African-American President, their reply was “what he said is protected under free speech and since no laws were broken, there is nothing we can do”. REALLY CBC? REALLY!!! Like this is a censorship issue. It ain’t about censorship, it’s about what is SUPPOSED to be the right thing. It’s about what the Civil Rights Movement was about, equality under the law and respect for all people.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand everyone having the right to say what they feel and speak their opinion. At the age of 40 I realize that we are not at all living in a post-racial Amerikkka. So my outrage isn’t with pecker-woods from Colorado who don’t like minorities or openly use racial slurs about black people. My problem is with the silence and apathy of the leading blacks in this country who call themselves black leaders. If one of them would have gotten on the radio or television and said “being involved with John Boehner in anything is like wallowing in a ditch with trailer trash honky redneck ofays” there would be some hell to pay.
How far will this go before the CBC, NAACP, NBJC or any other supposedly black social justice organization stands up and publically calls the blatant racism that is being broadcast over the airways and in newspapers and magazines UNACCEPTABLE? If the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan even casually says the word “Jewish” in an interview, EVERY JEWISH SOCIAL JUSTICE ORGANIZATION IN AMERIKKKA WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT IT! At this rate, one of the elected racist crackaz in congress could refer to the President as a nigger and they wouldn’t say anything. MY BAD! I FORGOT. The still unconfirmed gay agenda to take over the world by converting little children is more of a threat to this country than unhooded klansmen who have the power to legislate discrimination.
Let me just issue a warning. When we start letting “little things” like racial slurs being hurled over the public airwaves fly, sooner or later we will be back in the era of Jim Crow. Remember, a little leaven ruins the whole loaf. The Republikkkan party has already started trying to do things to suppress the votes of those who have a history of voting democrat. What’s next, White and Colored Only bathrooms? If we don’t wake up, we are headed in that direction. Didn’t we learn anything from the Civil Rights Movement? Aren’t we teaching our children remember and respect the legacy of our ancestors? If not, we are DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!
Oh yeah, “the terms cracka, peckerwood, trailer trash, honky, redneck and ofay are IN NO WISE intended to be offensive. And if anyone IS offended by their use I am deeply sorry.” That makes my using them okay… right?